Indian-origin millionaire wins in Australia local council elections

"I feel privileged as I can serve my community as well as my council for another term. However, it is also a bit disappointing to see that no other Indian origin candidates were elected across the state in this year's election."

By: PTI | Melbourne | Updated: November 2, 2016 5:08 pm

For the second time in a row, Indian-origin millionaire Intaj Khan has won the local council elections from the Wyndham suburb of Australia’s Victoria state. Khan, from the Labour Party, will now serve for another four years as a councillor following his successful election from the Harrison Ward of the suburb. Wyndham city council this year recorded the highest number of nominees, a whopping 95 candidates which included over a dozen candidates of Indian background.

Across the state, over 2,100 candidates had filed their nominations for this year’s elections for over 600 councillor vacancies across 78 councils. Expressing delight at his win, the 44-year-old Khan said, “I feel privileged as I can serve my community as well as my council for another term. However, it is also a bit disappointing to see that no other Indian origin candidates were elected across the state in this year’s election.” In the last elections, Wyndham city council had two Indian origin councillors, Gautam Gupta and Khan.

Khan said for him it was important to win as it highlighted the diversity in his council which had the largest Indian population. He admitted that in order to make sure his re-election he had spent over 100,000 dollars on his campaign. Khan, also dubbed as the richest councillor in the west Melbourne, has been surrounded by several controversies like his repeated failure to declare property and commercial interests.

Khan arrived in Australia in 1998 and has accumulated wealth to the tune of 70 million dollars largely coming from real estate across Melbourne and a private training college. The Labour Party councillor said that he was eyeing to contest a parliamentary seat in near future but only after consulting party and his community. “I would consult with the community on representing at the state or federal level but right now I don’t have any immediate plans,” Khan said.

He said despite negative campaign against him, the Indian and South Asian community supported him which made his re-election possible this year. Over 40 candidates of Indian background contested the local council elections this year across Victoria.